Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul

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But the quality of those relationships is decisive.

Paul and leadership

His relationships were not one-sided. Paul frequently locates himself within relationships that are based on the closest of human bonds, the family. The mother of Rufus was a mother to him Rom These were relationships with familial affection, in which Paul acted for the benefit of others—often at personal cost. He has patrons or benefactors Rom , and together with all believers he is one of the saints 1 Cor ; Eph Moreover, Paul valued the relationships the gospel created for him.

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Those he was in relationship with brought him joy 2 Cor ; Phil , and great comfort and encouragement Rom ; 2 Cor —7; Col ; Phlm 7. They helped him through their prayers, and generosity Rom ; 1 Cor ; 2 Cor ; Phil ; 2 Tim They were a source of pride, and grief 2 Cor , 8, 14; 1 Thess , and the subject of his own prayers 2 Cor ; Eph ; Phil In addition to this, Paul took active steps to foster relationships.

His letters were themselves a means of being present with those from whom he was physically absent. The goal of his missionary journeys was not simply to preach but to establish relationships, relationships in which he was a genuine participant. The message itself may have been powerful, but Paul did not hold a mass rally and… immediately move on to the next venue.

Had he done so, an unrealistic reputation might have built up, even while he remained a largely unknown quantity to his new converts. He might even have become some sort of hero—idealised and revered. Instead, he stayed, working at his trade while teaching them the basics of the faith, acting as their leader, guiding them as to how they should conduct their lives… He made himself vulnerable to charges of being a liar or a charlatan, of being exposed, at worst, as a fraud, and at best, as one whose life did not match up to the high ideals he preached.

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And he did not just live and work and preach to those he led, but he also had heart-felt love and affection for them 1 Cor ; 2 Cor ; Phil ; 1 Thess —love and affection he desired would be returned by them 2 Cor , 7. Accordingly, his leadership was directed at particular people. His letters depict countless personal connections.

Romans 16 alone mentions thirty-five people by name, and several others through their associations with those named. This is true even for the letter to the Ephesians. He changed his leadership style to meet different needs.

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For example, he wanted to deal with the Galatians face-to-face so they could know the full force of his apostolic concern Gal , but he spared the Corinthians a painful visit, preferring to write 2 Cor — This shows that while his leadership was not manipulative, he did understand people, and did adapt his leadership to fit different situations.

It is this commitment to personal relationships that lies behind his appeals and exhortations for certain beliefs and conduct in those to whom he writes.

It was located and exercised within a network of relationships, which he valued and fostered. Some of these relationships were asymmetrical—where he had a role and authority that set him apart. Significantly, all relationships also had symmetrical elements, where he was one among many—fathers, apostles, workers, servants—and where he shared a mutual identity and bond with all believers—as both sinner and saint.

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Those he led would be unable to imitate him unless they had personal knowledge of him, and outside the context of positive and benevolent relationships his appeal to imitation would be unattractive and unpersuasive. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments. Sorry, but we can't respond to individual comments. Recent searches Clear All.

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